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julie portrait3BW[From Julie] We’ve been away from the blog for a bit waiting for inspiration to rain down on us.  There is a mild sprinkle happening so I thought I better take advantage of it.

Recently I decided that I need to get back on the proverbial bandwagon and re-acquaint myself with our elliptical.  I’m in an all out war with back fat and I’m not winning so back on this beautiful machine I get.  Before we went to England two years ago both Noel and I were in the habit of working out on the elliptical in addition to our almost daily 5km walks.  We were preparing for what we knew would be many hours of walking around London’s streets, museums and castles and various places in Scotland. julie Since then both of us have recommitted ourselves to better health on more than one occasion but something always manages to interfere with the routine.  This most recent spurt of energy of mine is just that – the most recent.

I’ve noticed something different this time around that didn’t really bother me before.  I hurt!  And sadly I’m not accustom to it.  You see, Noel and I have kept up with the walking and since this past winter has been pretty mild we were able to get out without freezing our ears off during a good portion of the winter.  I thought that this would have been enough to keep my body from outright revolt at the first step on the elliptical.  Not so, it would seem.  The goal of being as healthy as I can for as long as I can is going to require a little trip through the halls of pain.  My 60-year-old body will thank me I’m sure.  We all do this from time to time don’t we?  We resolve that the pain of the present is worth the gain of the future.

Any time you want to make a change to improve anything in your life it requires some conscious effort and sometimes a little pain.  I guess we could call it growing pains.  That also includes changes in your relationships.  You might remember that we asked a few couples to write about goals for their marriage for this year.  The couples that responded decided to start something new or change patterns they were already engaged in.  I hope that a few of you have also made goals for this year that will improve your marriage.   For those of you who are in the newlywed stage of your life, you have been dealing with a lot of changes and I’m sure some of them have not been the most joyful.  If we could offer a word of encouragement it would be to do the hard work now and reap the benefits in the upcoming years of your marriage.  Deal with the issues as they come up, even the hard ones.

Learn to apologize and to forgive.  Invite your spouse into the deepest corners of your life even when it’s painful.  Trust me when I say that it can bring you closer together.  Your fight with your own personal demons can become a struggle that you both confront together.  Two are better than one.  You could gain an ally that makes the difference between an ongoing battle and a defeated enemy.

If you are like most married couples you fight about sex and money from time to time.  No two issues have more capacity to divide than these.  You’ve got to find a way to resolve this.  If you are the spouse that has a spending problem you need to address that.  If you are the spouse that feels rejected by your partner you need to talk about that.  If you are the spouse that feels beaten down or controlled by your partner you need to deal with that.  If you are the spouse with the porn problem you better find a way to change that.  If you are the spouse with the self-esteem problem you need to work on that.  If you are the spouse that is quarrelsome and unsupportive you need to apologize and learn to respond differently.  If your marriage is filled with tension and unaddressed issues you are in pain already.  You may as well address it and live through the pain of changing it for the future benefit of your marriage.  I’m not saying this is easy.  Not by a long shot.  What I am saying is that some pain is worth suffering to get to the results of your labor.  Your 60 year-old marriage will thank you for it.

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